The Innocents sees a small group of kids with telekinetic powers do some horrible things.
A young couple moves to a new apartment block with their daughters. Anna (Alva Brynsmo Ramstad), a non-vocal autistic girl, is cared for by her parents and sister, Ida (Rakel Lenora Fløttum). However, Ida has become increasingly frustrated with Anna’s condition. She befriends a boy named Ben (Sam Ashraf) and discovers he can move objects with his mind. She also meets Aisha (Mina Yasmin Bremseth Asheim), a girl that can communicate telekinetically with Anna. Ben, Aisha, and Anna can seemingly all communicate in this way, though the full power lies with Ben, who can also step into people’s bodies and control them. The group experiments with their abilities, which at first seem harmless, until they’re not.
There is a disconnect between the extent of the kids’ powers, how or why they have them, and what they can and can’t do. It’s not important in the grand scheme of the film or to its themes, but that lack of connection makes for a somewhat disjointed narrative. Despite this, The Innocents works well as a disturbing horror movie, with aspects of a coming-of-age tale at its core. It centres around Ida, whose journey sees her grow as a person.
What makes The Innocents such an effective horror is that the innocent nature of these kids doing terrible things is that much more impactful. Some scenes are genuinely hard to watch and will leave you reeling. At the same time, you want to root for the ‘good’ characters in this film, forging that emotional bond that will keep you hooked all the way through.
Furthermore, the indie-style cinematography adds a touch of realism to the narrative, making you feel more connected to these characters as if they were the kids playing on the street in your neighbourhood. It’s an overall excellently shot film with steely performances from all of its young cast members.
The Innocents is a visceral horror-movie viewing experience, and while it won’t make you jump out of your chair in fright, it may chill you to the bone and make you feel sick inside. It’s what real horror is all about.
Ellen Dorrit Petersen, who plays Ida’s mum, and Rakel Lenora Fløttum, who plays Ida, are also mother and daughter in real life.